Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yankees play dangerous media game with Jeter

The New York Yankees are playing a dangerous media game with Derek Jeter.

It hasn’t escalated to the point of a media war, but it's starting to feel like it's heading in that direction. Perhaps that's the fault of the media itself, with sportswriters under pressure to write the most sensational news stories from the tiniest of scoops. But the Yankees are contributing to the atmosphere by publicly commenting about the shortstop. They give reporters something to work with every time they open their mouths. Whatever happened to "No, comment," Yankee brass? Just stop talking.

If you even believe the media reports, the Yankees are positioning themselves to use their leverage: that no other team will make a substantial offer for the captain or even bid for his services based on the assumption that he is destined to return to the Yankees. But publicly questioning the iconic shortstop's value is a hell of a risk. No matter how much they praise Jeter's career and his contributions to the franchise, all anyone will hear are the negatives.

Jeter is the most media-savvy athlete in baseball, perhaps in all sports. Except for a brush-back by his agent in response to Hal Steinbrenner's initial comments, Jeter has not been seen or heard from much this offseason. But if he finally gets tired of the Yankees playing games in the media, he's going to hit back in such a subtle way that the Yankees won't know what hit them or how to respond.

Any attempt to disparage Jeter will alienate many Yankee fans, including myself. I'm already getting tired of hearing people like Yankees president Randy Levine talking about how this is a different negotiation that it was 10 years ago on Jeter's last deal and how he's been so great for the Yankees, but they have been just as good for him. That is all obvious and doesn’t need to be said. So why say anything at all, especially when what you're saying can be easily misconstrued or completely blown out of proportion?

The Yankees need to just shut up and focus on getting Jeter's deal done. It's the best outcome for everyone and doesn't leave any messes to be cleaned up.


  1. OK--the Yankees publicly insult Jeter, he gets offended and signs with the Cubs, and Randy Levine announces the Yankees are better of without him.

    You still a Yankee fan?

  2. I may have to shut down my blog in that happens. The guys I grew up rooting for: Mo, Jeter, Pettitte, Posada are all close to the end of their careers and I would have no problem if things came to a natural end. But if they are disrespected, if their contributions to the Yankees' success are diminished by the organization that bows at the feet of guys like ARod and Clemens, then yes it's time to move on.